Asking Questions That Encourage Creative Thinking

Asking questions that encourage creative thinking

Consider the learning potential of simply shifting the way you ask your child questions…

“Can you see the rainbow in the sky?” versus “I wonder how does the rainbow get into the sky?”

“What is this part of the elephant called? (pointing to trunk)” versus “What would you do if you had a trunk?”

“Can you see it’s raining?” versus “How does the rain get into the sky?”

“What colour is this?” versus “What does this colour make you think of?”

“What type of dinosaur is this?” versus “Do dinosaurs have friends?”

“Can you see the bird flying in the sky?” versus “What would happen if you could fly?”

“Where do fish live?” versus “What do you think would be most exciting about living underwater?”

“What will we do tomorrow?” versus “How do you think tomorrow gets here, to where we are?”

“What is that noise?” versus “What would that noise look like if we tried to draw it?”

“Can you see the lizard?” versus “Why do you think lizards lie in the sun?”

“What colour is this (autumn) leaf?” versus”When the leaves change colour, how does the new colour get into the leaf?”

“Which of the balls floats?” versus “How does the ball float on top of the water?”

“Can you find the red wool?” versus “How many different ways could this wool be used?”

“What colour is that butterfly?” versus “How could we make a butterfly catcher?”

“How many snails can you see?” versus “How could we make a playground for a snail to play in?”

Good questions encourage children to think outside the square, to think and solve problems creatively.  And creative thinking is a problem solving skill that the employers of today (and tomorrow) are looking for.

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Time to Create by Christie Burnett


  1. Joyful Learner says:

    Great questions!

  2. Raising a Happy Child says:

    I love it – what great ways to promote creative thinking. I have to try more of it at home.

  3. We do this when listening to classical music. "What do you think is happening now?" We get lots of wonderful stories, which one day I am hoping Princess will sit down and draw whilst I write them for her and we can make a little book 🙂

  4. SquiggleMum says:

    I love the answers children give when we stop looking for the "right" answer and instead ask open ended questions.

  5. Thank you for posting this! Very helpful for me personally as we are used to ask closed ended questions.

  6. Kelly Coyle DiNorcia says:

    This is a great post! It is so hard for me to not answer questions when they're asked, but to simply reflect the question back to see what my kids are thinking. We try to play games with it, too – like when we see an airplane we ask where do you think it's going? Do you think anyone we know is on that plane? You learn so much about your kids when you start asking the questions instead of answering them, though!

  7. Tricia at Mom is the Only Girl says:

    Those things that inspire me, like this post, that I always forget when the opportunity arises! Love the reminder – Thanks!

  8. Pathfinder Mom says:

    Thank you for posting this. It already made me stop and think today when we were out and about. How we phrase things is so important!

  9. I just love this post! I'm going to print it out and put it up to remind me to think of more exciting questions!

  10. Juliet Robertson says:

    I don't think we ever be reminded enough about this. It's not an easy thing to do, but probably makes the biggest difference in terms of our relationship with our children, let alone the development of understanding and wisdom.

  11. SenseiMattKlein says:

    Liked this post. Yes, open-ended questions are the best for creative thinking and for "breaking the ice".

  12. Christie, I could lose days of my life on your website. Sigh. This was awesome, I missed it last year. Printing it now to remind me to always be creative with my questions, as I so love hearing her imaginative answers.

    Thank you once again!

  13. This is brilliant!

  14. Monica Mlenga says:

    I just love the post,ill apply this yo ma creativity session with children in ma care

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